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CALIFORNIA CITY – City Council approved another interim budget resolution at a special meeting on July 30. The city has yet to approve it’s 2019-2020 budget and meetings are scheduled for today and Aug. 13.

The interim expenditure resolution “approves interim spending authority for the City of California City prior to the approval of the City of California City Operating Budget and Capital Improvements for Fiscal Year 2019-20 at the levels set by the City Operating and Capital Improvement Budget for 2018-19 to allow payment of routine expenses including payroll and vendor expenses at prior year’s level. This approval shall only be up through and including August 31, 2019, shall be limited to a maximum of 2/12th of the Fiscal Year 18/19 Budget, and shall only be for that which is needed for essential functions of the City, to be determined by the City Manager.”

During public comments, resident Al Hutson admonished the council to make sure budget information was shared with the public

“The documents that are being referenced need to be posted online for the public review because before the last workshop, they were not. And there was no recording of the proceeding for the public to review,” he said. “ Additionally, direction should be given by the city manager to department heads to prioritize and bring the capital expenditures to her attention before being brought to the council.”

Councilmember Don Parris described the process as bouncing the ball down the road.

“Last year it went all the way to December,” he said. “Hopefully this will be the last time we have to extend this budget. It’s time to get this city back in operation.”

As in previous meetings, Mayor Pro Tem Eugene Stump emphasized the importance of establishing priorities and adhering to a zero-based budgeting process.

“I just can't emphasize enough - we need from the directors - we need their priorities,” he said. “And I've been asking for that for a while now. We need to budget where you have a finite amount of money, they give us their priorities, we line those priorities. We assign money to each one of those priorities and when we run out of money, that's the budget.”

Finance Director Diego Ibanez said that was his intention.

“I’ve been working closely with city managers to kind of give them a deadline and absolute deadline for that priority list,” he said. “So we can have enough time to discuss and have those awkward, courageous conversations on what needs to be cut.”

Following an assurance that the budget to be presented would not include tapping into the reserve funds, the resolution was unanimously passed.

The initial budget presentation was heard at the Workshop held on July 24, following the presentation and discussions it was the consensus of the council and staff to allow more time for department heads to prepare their list of priorities and gather further information requested by the City Council.

At the July 24 meeting, consultant Andy Heath said the preliminary budget currently projects total revenues for city operations and enterprise funds in FY 2019-20 at $24,841,263 and expenditures totaling $29,850,557.

“What what you see tonight is kind of a big challenge, said Heath. “But I What I showed you is what your budget looks like from a base perspective, from a high level funding, big picture.”

General Fund revenues are expected to be $4,108,769 with expenditures of $4,317,948. The bulk of the funding - some 52% - coming from property taxes.

Heath noted that not all the numbers are accurate as council had just voted to reduce the parcel tax fee by $10 at an earlier council meeting. He reviewed proposed budgets for each of the city departments projected out to FY 2024-25, reminding council that Measure C funds have a sunset clause in 2024 which will result in a significant drop in revenue.

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